29 February 2020
Lau Ming-wai's tips on home-buying were blasted as unrealistic by members of his generation. Photo:HKEJ
Lau Ming-wai's tips on home-buying were blasted as unrealistic by members of his generation. Photo:HKEJ

Useless home-buying tips from son of property tycoon Joseph Lau

Lau Ming-wai, 34, son of billionaire property developer Joseph Lau Luen-hung, gave some advice to young people who are finding it difficult to afford a home, but many found his suggestions entirely unrealistic.

In response to a question posted by online radio station regarding what young people can do about skyrocketing property prices, which make it hard for them to buy their own place or even rent one, the best the younger Lau could come up with was well-worn cliches.

“The key is to stay competitive, find a stable job with decent salary,” he said.

Lau went on to stress the importance of saving money.

“If a guy earns HK$15,000 [US$1,935] a month, and he spends it all or just saves a little, [he can never afford to buy a flat],” he said.

“It depends on how much you are willing to sacrifice other things and save for the down payment — HK$500 or HK$3,000,” Lau said.

“Go less to the movies, travel less to Japan.”

His final words of wisdom: “If you don’t plan to save more every month, even if house prices tumble right now, you still won’t be able to afford the down payment.”

Well, thanks for nothing, chairman of the Commission for Youth.

The problem people are facing now is that they won’t have enough money to buy a home no matter how hard they try.

Not surprising at all, Lau’s comments have drawn waves of criticism on the internet. Most netizens said he was talking nonsense.

In case Lau has not noticed, netizens picked his family’s property projects as examples to illustrate how unworkable his advice is.

One South Lane in Kennedy Town is the latest residential property project launched by Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd. (00127.HK), controlled by Lau’s dad.

A 210 square foot unit there is selling for HK$4.87 million, so a down payment of HK$1.95 million is needed.

If one saves HK$3,000 out of a monthly salary of HK$15,000, it will take 54 years to assemble that down payment.

Netizens said Lau is simply not qualified to give advice to young people, because he has a super rich dad and he will never understand their problems.

Some suggested he try working as a white-collar worker and see if he can buy a flat with a salary of HK$15,000.

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EJ Insight writer